Friday, October 17, 2008

Just say "No"

It is a truism of politics that even if there isn't a candidate that you want to vote for, there's surely someone that you would vote against.

The problem with this is that it presumes that the 'other' candidate is at least acceptable; what isn't usually taken into consideration with that saying is what to do when one is less than impressed with EITHER of the mainstream candidates.

The most obvious solution is to simply continue to apply the principle by voting for neither of them. The value of this option becomes even more significant when the two main political parties have become so polarized, so entrenched, so dominant that they skew and bias the political scene so thoroughly that alternative candidates are marginalized and excluded -- effectively denying the voting public the free exercise of the franchise.

I would suggest that it is well past the time for the voting public to make it known that they do not appreciate what the election process has devolved to, that they do not like being limited to just one or two candidates from the two main political parties, and that they do NOT want the current process to limit them to just a couple of 'mainstream' parties.

Personally, I'm more than a little disgusted with the way political campaigns have become a blood sport, the general malaise most people have about the process, the political pandering, and being obliged to vote for what I consider the lesser of two evils. I, like most people, am disgusted with the whole process and resulting jackassery. What used to be sarcastic comments on the state of politics have become entirely too true: "The opposite of 'pro' is 'con', so the opposite of Progress is Congress", "Politicks comes from the Latin 'poly', meaning many; and 'ticks', a species of blood-sucking parasites", "No one's life, liberty, or property are safe while the Legislature is in session", "Giving money and power to Government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys", and so on. Think about the other, similar, sayings that you know -- and whether or not you think they're more true now than they were in years past.

If you are less than impressed with the political process, or you aren't entirely committed to voting for one of the main candidates, then I would encourage you to join me in sending a message to those that are supposed to be our public servants: that it's nigh time they cleaned up their act, started working WITH each other instead of at cross purposes, and started making it possible for us to have the kind of government that we want, DOING what we want: vote for anybody but either of the two mainstream candidates -- hell, vote for Ralph Nader, or Ron Paul, if that's what it takes. Hell, write in Adolf Hitler, if that's what it takes to make it painfully clear that you're not voting for either of the other two. If you don't have a 3rd-party alternive in a particular race, then vote for whoever the challenger is for an office. Voting for Nader or someone else might sound risky ("But what if he actually gets elected!"), but it isn't, really: there are undoubtedly enough people still going to vote Republicrat or Demolican that Nader (or whoever) getting into office is unlikely in the extreme. What voting for him WILL do, however, is let the other parties know that there is a significant portion of the voting public that is less than pleased with them -- and that's the point that needs to be made.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Modern Medicine

I had the "pleasure" of a physical at the doctors office today.

Blood pressure - OK
Pulse - OK
Temperature - OK
Heart - OK
Lungs - OK (even for me being a smoker)
Cholesterol - OK
Weight - OK (even lost a few pounds since last time)
General health - OK

I did manage to cause mild hysterics with the nurse when she took my temperature: instead of a regular thermometer (or even one of the sexy digital under-the-tongue jobs), she used one that took my temperature via an ear -- which prompted me to comment "Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase 'stick it in your ear', doesn't it?". Once she'd settled down again, she said she'd be using that for the rest of the day...

All in all, it has been determined -- to some degree of certainty -- that I am not, in fact, dead.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008


One of the cornerstones of American democracy is that pretty much everyone is allowed to exercise their voting franchise.

Of course, there are those of us that wonder about the sense and rationality of some of the folks on the 'other side' of an issue, but we generally don't limit the right to vote except for the insane, mentally impaired, or felony criminals.

I would suggest that we, as a nation, consider changing that policy for the simple reason that there are (unfortunately) those that do not exercise their voting rights in a reasoned, thoughtful manner: those that latch onto a particular issue (to the exclusion of everything else) to decide how their vote should be cast, and the folks that don't bother to keep up with the assorted issues brought up by the candidates and thus enter the polling booth ignorant as newborn babes.

Then there are those people that see only one aspect of a particular candidate to the exclusion of everything else. Finally, there are those individuals such as the author of this disjointed, rambling gibberish.

Consider that the missive in question was a letter to the editor: the author had ample time to think through what he wanted to say and how to say it -- and yet still produced and submitted that kind of drivel. While it is possible to make out what the individual was trying to say, does anyone really think that it benefits our political process to allow someone like that to actually cast a ballot?Are we to believe that the kind of mind (and I do use the term loosely in this case) that produced that is going to be capable of distinguishing the subtleties and implications of political discourse?

No, I think our nations founders were being wildly optimistic to make the voting franchise as easily exercised as they did -- and that it's time we correct that oversight.